Sussex

Joseph Peachey guilty of father hospital smother bid

Joseph Peachey (on the right) with a prison guard
Image caption Joseph Peachey (on the right) denied trying to murder his 79-year-old father

A man has been found guilty of trying to murder his 79-year-old terminally ill father by smothering him as he lay in his hospital bed.

Joseph Peachey, 48, was convicted of the attempted murder of his father Albert at Eastbourne District General Hospital in December 2010.

Jurors at Lewes Crown Court were told police officers used Taser guns to restrain him after he attacked staff.

Albert Peachey died five days later from medical complications.

'Unpredictable behaviour'

During the four-day trial Joseph Peachey, of Badlesmere Road, Eastbourne, admitted four counts of assault for attacking a nurse, a security guard and two police officers at the hospital in the incident on 20 December.

Judge Richard Hayward said he had previous convictions including attempted grievous bodily harm, possession of knives and affray.

He added: "There is quite a lot of violence in his past and his behaviour on the day was extremely disturbing, and I have some reports from the cells that his behaviour is unpredictable."

The court had heard how Mr Peachey, who had dementia, had undergone a major operation for bowel cancer on 30 November but failed to make a recovery, and later suffered a number of infections.

Jurors were told members of his family, including Peachey, had agreed for a "do not resuscitate sign" to be placed over his bed.

'Just die'

His condition continued to worsen and he suffered a "massive" stroke, rendering him unconscious and unresponsive with no chance of him ever recovering.

Peachey, who regularly visited his father in hospital, was caught by a nurse on 20 December with one hand over his mouth and the other pinching his nose after being overheard telling him "to just die".

Senior staff nurse Robert Wilson told him to stop immediately, to which he replied he wanted to be left alone with his father for 15 minutes.

Peachey then flew into a rage, punching Mr Wilson and then hitting a security guard twice when he was called to help.

When police arrived, Peachey punched an officer during a struggle, and bit another through his uniform.

Firearms officers were deployed to the hospital and he was subdued with a Taser gun and Captor spray before being arrested.

Jurors heard that Peachey later denied he had been trying to suffocate his father, claiming that he was actually checking his false teeth.

Peachey is due to be sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on 19 August.

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